๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ”ฌ How to Learn Things as an Adult

Learning shouldn’t stop with the acquisition of a diploma. As writer and scientist Isaac Asimov said, “Education isn’t something you can finish.” Unfortunately, many adults are not aware of the avenues available to them for lifelong learning. Kids have teachers and parents to teach them, but what are your options? Here are a few of my favorite methods for learning things as an adult:

1. Take online courses.

The internet is a wealth of information, much of it entirely free. Whatever you wish to learn, there is likely a free course on it. In fact, there are so many classes out there, it can be difficult to know where to start.

How to find courses worth taking:

2. Take a course at your local community college.

Your local community college is a hugely underutilized resource. They have all kinds of classes at an extremely affordable price. They even have classes on less academic subjects like woodworking, cooking, and welding. Head over to your community college’s website to view their course catalog and find out more.

3. Pursue your interests with experts.

Find one-on-one lessons. Get a tutor. If you can afford it, having a teacher who can give you hands-on lessons will expedite your learning more than anything else.

Finding hands-on lessons can be difficult, but there are options. Find a language tutor with iTalki. If you are looking to learn an instrument, there is surely someone nearby offering lessons. Restaurants in major cities often offer cooking classes. REI offers classes on outdoors and survival skills.

4. Do it yourself.

Put your target skill into practice. YouTube is an especially great resource for DIY skills. Learn cooking, auto repair, musical instruments, and much much more. Check out my list of educational YouTube channels to get started.

5. Work on it daily.

Works of genius are not the results of flashes of brilliance, but instead of consistent, daily output. The only way to get good at a thing is to practice it a lot.

Consistency isn’t easy though. It’s hard to keep working at something day-in and day-out โ€” especially when you aren’t very good at it (which you won’t be at first, no one is). So to combat this problem, try giving yourself a 30-day (or longer) challenge. Challenges are fun, and they often come with a community to keep you accountable, making that day-to-day grind more palatable.

Find a challenge: 

If you can’t find a challenge that fits your needs, create your own. Try the Jerry Seinfeld method (note: there is some debate over whether or not Seinfeld actually did this). Get a calendar. Every day you complete your required work, mark an “X” on that day. The goal is to avoid breaking the chain of Xs you have formed.

6. Immerse yourself.

Surround yourself with real life influences. Follow experts and hobbyists on Twitter and Instagram. Subscribe to subreddits and web forums for those who share your interests. Anything you could possibly want to learn, other people are trying to learn too.

If you wish to learn the effects immersion can have on the learning process, check out Scott Young’s “Year Without English” learning experiment. Scott spent three months at a time in foreign countries in order to learn their languages. During those months, he was only allowed to speak his target language. At the end of his year abroad, he became proficient in Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, and Korean. This might seem extreme, but it does reflect the impact immersion can have on learning.

7. Read read read.

Read everything you can on what you want to learn, especially books. The more familiarity and context you can get on a subject, the easier learning will be. Visit your library, buy books from bookshop.org, or check out my list of useful websites for online book resources.

Conclusion

Be curious. Pursue that curiosity. When you’ve settled on a project, act before your enthusiasm begins to wane.

For more on optimizing your learning, I highly recommend checking out Barbara Oakley’s free course Learning How to Learn, and the companion book A Mind for Numbers. Both course and book break down the science behind learning and the optimal techniques to employ.

๐Ÿ’ป The Giant List of Useful Websites

The Giant List of Useful Websites

This is a running list of over 100 useful websites. Websites are organized by category. Click the category names to toggle the lists of websites. Hover your mouse over the website names to view a description.

๐Ÿ“น The Giant List of Educational YouTube Channels

โœ… The Life Assessment Checklist

The Life Assessment Checklist

How are you doing? Are you remembering to care for yourself? Take a moment of self reflection, and check off the statements below that apply to you.

Strength and Responsibility

Career

Partnerships

Social Life

Health and Nutrition

Finances

Environment

Social Media

How did you do? Were you able to check everything off? It’s okay if you couldn’t. Most people can’t. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our lives that we forget to take care of ourselves. Hopefully, this exercise was a good reminder.

๐ŸŽ 10 Food Rules for Healthy Eating

I try to be a healthy person. I exercise semi-regularly, and I watch what I eat. But eating healthy isn’t always easy, which is why I have laid out a few ground rules for myself.

These rules are more guidelines than absolutes. I do break them from time to time, but just having rules means I am always aware of them, which in turn makes abiding by them that much easier. I’m always tweaking them, so they are subject to change. Here are my ten rules for healthy-ish eating:

1. No soda. No juice.

As many of you know, soda has a ton of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup, but you might be surprised to discover that juice also has an unhealthy amount of sugar. Just because juice is fruit flavored, it doesn’t make it good for you. So I stay away from soda and juice.

Not only do I think it’s important to avoid drinking sugar, but I think it’s a good idea to avoid drinking carbs altogether (the exception I make is an occasional alcoholic beverage). I stick to water in almost all situations. I don’t even drink coffee (not that I’m against caffeine, I just don’t find a need for it).

2. No fast food. 

What I define as fast food is any restaurant that typically comes with an attached drive-thru. I make an exception for In-n-Out (I live in California), not because itโ€™s good (which it is), but because of the quality of their ingredients. And sometimes on road trips, convenience is a necessary evil.

3. Never eat out more than once in a day.

There are a couple of reasons for this: 1. It’s impossible to gauge all of the ingredients a restaurant kitchen puts into a meal. It’s almost guaranteed my home cooking will be healthier. 2. It’s expensive to eat out all the time. If I’m in a situation where I’m not near a kitchen or I can’t pack a meal, then I try to find something healthy-ish at a grocery store to eat.

4. Don’t buy sweets at the grocery store.

If I buy a tub of cookies at the grocery store, I’m going to binge eat a tub of cookies when I get home, and ignore all of the healthy stuff I just bought. I don’t shun sweets altogether, but if I want dessert, I force myself to leave the house to get it.

5. Don’t skip meals.

Even when I don’t feel like eating, I force myself to eat something. This keeps me from bingeing at my next meal, and it ensures I have the energy to stay productive throughout the day.

6. Stop eating before the full feeling sets in.

There is a delay between your stomach being full and your brain registering your stomach being full. If you don’t stop eating until after that full feeling sets in, it’s already too late.

7. Cook whenever possible.

If I can cook a meal in my own kitchen , I cook a meal in my own kitchen. Frozen foods and the microwave don’t count. Real food must be involved.

8. Eat the leftovers.

When I cook, I end up with leftovers. I force myself to eat those leftovers for lunches until they are gone. This does a couple of things: 1. It keeps me from being wasteful. If leftovers don’t get eaten, they get thrown out. 2. It saves money. 3. It saves time. Leftovers mean less planning and less cooking.

9. Take it easy on the red meat.

I try to stick to chicken, ground turkey, and fish when I cook at home. Sometimes, I’ll have a steak or burger, but only on rare occasions. I keep red meat of my regular meal rotation.

10. Plan ahead.

Failing to plan inevitably leads to me opting for the most convenient solution. And the convenient solution is usually an unhealthy one. So I take a little time each week to plan out when and what I am going to cook. I then write that down on my calendar for future reference.

Those are my rules for healthy eating. They might not be right for you, and they definitely aren’t perfect, but hopefully you found something to inspire you moving forward.